State GovernmentState News

To Reform Maryland or Divide Maryland?

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As part of a plan he calls the “Agenda to Reform Maryland,” Delegate Michael Hough will introduce proposals to institute term limits for delegates and state senators and to require a supermajority  to raise taxes.

Hough, a Republican who represents parts of Washington and Frederick counties, said he wants to set a maximum of three terms any individual may serve in the Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates.

Senators and delegates are elected to four-year terms.

Hough said the term-limit proposal would put an end to politicians corralling power and holding on to it for years.

Unfortunately, these proposals would be unlikely to see the light of day thanks to the very problem they are intended to address.

As examples, he mentioned House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., both Democrats, who have a combined 68 years of service in the legislature.

“I think they wield too much power,” Hough said of long-serving politicians. “I think they’re hurting the average citizens of Maryland.”

When the State Senate office building is actually named for the sitting president of the State Senate, it’s not hard to feel like he has been there far too long. It’s also not hard to feel like something is seriously wrong in Annapolis. Statesmen should be embarrassed to accept such a brazen “honor” but it raises no eyebrows among Maryland’s one party monopoly.

Miller and Busch hold extraordinarily powerful positions and use them to their own and their party’s advantage, which has alienated the rural parts of the state–some to the point of proposing to secede from the state itself.

The Western Maryland Initiative seeks to create a new state from Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. These largely rural counties are beset with the regulations and taxes which are created in Annapolis while having very little voice to influence legislation.  The initiative cites a long list of grievances and violations of Maryland’s Declaration of Rights as the irreconcilable differences leading them to ask for an “amicable divorce” from the rest of Maryland.

The one party monopoly will not accept any limitations on its power and the increasingly and the opposition is becoming more politically creative. It’s doubtful that Hough’s proposals or the secession initiative will gain any real traction in the near future, but the energy behind such ideas is increasing. Eventually that energy will create motion. The question is whether it will be toward reform or division.

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